A message for the overtaxed: Make Florida home

jeff atwaterLike California, Florida has beautiful, diverse landscapes. This natural beauty is only surpassed by weather and climates that make both states a destination and a home for millions. An unfortunate similarity is that both states have been hit hard by the collapse of the housing market and a strained economy.

How we have each weathered the economic storm is where the states’ paths diverge. California follows the misguided path of expanding government and passing the financial burden onto their citizens by raising taxes, proposing government can spend its way to prosperity. Florida’s unwavering commitment to making tough decisions in tight financial times equates to a more prosperous state. Florida is constitutionally required to balance its budget, and has reduced its debt by $2 billion in the last two years.  These sound financial decisions have preserved our AAA bond rating.

Our actions send the clear message that our state takes seriously its responsibility to keep as many dollars as possible in the pockets of Floridians.

It’s no wonder that this week the professional golfer Phil Mickelson voiced his frustration with the direction of his home state and our federal government. Exasperated, he indicated he was on the verge of leaving his birthplace for a new home where success is championed rather than punished.

The issue raised by Mr. Mickelson, is greater than the divide between income tax and no income tax states. It speaks to a larger issue and question our nation is facing—what is the role and scope of government responsibility?

Government must be the champion of free markets, not stifle growth with unfair regulations, cumbersome processes and oppressive taxes. In putting our citizens first, not bureaucracy and politics, we can continue to cultivate an environment that nurtures the entrepreneurial spirit.

Creating a sustainable economy and a vibrant market for new jobs is critical for the long term prosperity of our state and nation. By branching out, fostering innovation and planning for the success of future generations, we can pave the way for greater success.

I’m proud to call Florida my home and privileged to have the opportunity to keep our home great. I invite Mr. Mickelson to our state just as I invite anyone who faces crippling taxes and regulations that stand in the way of growing our economy and their pursuit of happiness.

You can connect with CFO Atwater at https://www.facebook.com/JeffAtwater

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About Florida C.F.O. Jeff Atwater

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  • seazen

    It is no wonder that Atwater would point to Phil Mickelson's latest pronouncement as a model for what real Americans should be and do. Here is a man who makes millions playing a game. He lives in a world of private jets, exclusive country clubs, and celebrity privilege. He then announces that it is really too painful to have to pay an additional 5-9% in taxes and that he may have to move. I imagine that he also thinks he deserves to keep all his money because he "works" so hard and that there is no obligation to pay his fair share of taxes. Now, what has he actually produced from this hard work? Florida is the same. Look at the current condo recovery in Miami. Intense competition from wealthy foreigners driving prices up while real Floridians who actually work there cannot find homes they can afford. Floridians who work are simply servants of the rich and it is the rich that are catered to in policy and legislation. But, heck, the minimum wage and food stamps are enough to survive.

  • Flconserv

    Seazen must be an Obama guy. He ignores the work of Atwater and Republicans to make our state prosperous. "Pay fair share?" Yeah that's code for "give Democrats all the $ they want to spend." Florida and DC need to cut taxes and spending, and reward success so that we all get an opportunity for our own success. Atwater is leading the way and he's right: We should welcome Mickleson and anyone else who is sick of high taxes elsewhere.

  • Bdawgfl

    Clearly Seazen has no concept of what Phil represents. Phil is one man frustrated with paying an unfair share. What about the other businesses that have left as well. In 2011 on average 5 businesses left CA for greener pastures. TX, FL, AZ and a few others have been the beneficiary of that decline. 855,000 jobs have not just gone away but gone elsewhere since 2007. Why does he suppose that is? Because they can make more money, hire more people and produce more goods for the people that want it. While they are doing it, they are generating tax revenue for the new host state. The state takes a smaller share but gets far more because more people and businesses are paying in. A more fair share.

  • morstar150

    Really? So, because Phil Mickelson has achieved success in his profession by working his tail off to become one of the greatest golfers of all time, he should have to support the overspending, big government policies that are bankrupting California? He never said that he "deserves to keep all his money." He merely commented on the fact that by living on the wrong West Coast he must pay 60% of his earned income in taxes. That doesn't fall within the "fair share" category. What pray tell Mr or Ms Seazen do you consider your fair share.

    And speaking of fair share, when will your messiah Obama consider taking a "fair share" of income from his banking buddies like Jamie Dimon, or MF Global cheat, Jon Corzine? Maybe, after the Senate passes a budget. Get Real, and if you earn a good living come to Florida; we have beaches, no income tax and a balanced budget.

  • J. Davis

    You would have thought this would have come from Governor Scott as he is the one who brags about our state.

    Why is it coming from Atwater? Why hasn't someone reached out to all of the gun manufactures in New York? Those are good honest businesses that employ good honest people. Out state can use that.

  • JGP

    The beautiful thing about America is that nobody restricts your freedom of movement. OK, well California is now taking steps to punish residents trying to leave that state. But if someone wants to move to high income tax state, nobody will stop them.

    As far as I'm concerned, I'm glad that Tiger Woods is living in Palm Beach County and paying property tax on an $80M property even though he doesn't pay state income tax. I'm glad that Ernie Els is building a $30M center for special needs kids even though he doesn't pay state income tax. I'm glad that California-based research institutes like Scripps and Torrey Pines found Florida a good place to locate.

    The taxes paid by Phil Mickelson to the State of California don't "belong" to California. Rational people choose where they want to live based on what is best for them and their families. I would no more blame Mickelson for moving out of a high-tax state than I would blame someone else for moving out of a high crime area or an area with poor schools.

    "I have never understood why it is 'greed' to want to keep the money you have earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else's money."–economist Thomas Sowell